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Old 04-28-2013, 11:53 AM   #1
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Default My 30A GFI breaker wouldn't reset, even w/ no load

Hey all,

This problem got fixed but not without a $75 electrician visit and a 2 day delay on brewing my Belgian Quad.

For background info, instead of the spa panel, I had an electrician install a 50 A panel in my garage and I put in a 30 A GFI breaker for my kal panel. This gave me some extra outlets for my vent fan, etc. Everything was great and I had used the system for about 4 batches.

Went to brew this last time and just as I was ready to start heating the strike water, the gfi tripped. I started troubleshooting the kal control panel but fortunately, before trying anything extreme, I unplugged it from the wall mounted outlet and the GFI still wouldn't reset, even without anything plugged in at all.

I assumed the breaker must be bad. Fortunately for me, this $80 part was exchanged for me at no cost by my electrical supply place where I bought it originally. (there was an extra hour+ of driving to their other location where they had the last one in stock, but I digress...)

Got the brand new GFI installed and.....drumroll...exact same problem. It absolutely refused to reset, even without anything connected.

I gave up and called an electrician, who couldn't make it for 2 days.

When he showed up, he assumed bad breaker but I told him how I had just gone through the process of obtaining and installing a replacement.

Then, he simply loostened the screws on the clamp which holds the orange cable feeding power to the outlet for the brewery.

Worked like a champ.

$75 and a ton of hassle for an over-tightened cable clamp.


Thought this was worth sharing for others like me who have just enough confidence to get into these situations but not enough knowledge or experience to troubleshoot. I think I uploaded a picture of the panel in another thread but I will link it here for reference.

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Old 04-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:37 PM   #3
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Wow. Lesson learned!!!
I hope he gave you a lot of advice too.

Would this go for for terminal screw connections also? I always thought tight was good. 😜

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Old 04-28-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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I must have missed something. Why did loosening the clamp solve the problem? The way I interpret the solution makes me think there is a short there for some reason?

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Old 04-29-2013, 01:53 AM   #5
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If all he did was loosen a cable clamp to clear the problem, it is possible the clamp had damaged the insulation one or more wires in the cable.

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Old 04-30-2013, 12:49 AM   #6
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To be clear, there is a metal clamp immediately above the 220v outlet, meant to hold the wire in position. It is like 2 half circles that pull together when tightened to clamp the cable. Those are the 2 screws he loostened.

So should I remove/replace the wire completely?

I have plenty of extra since the pirate electrician that did the install made me buy 30' of the stuff for a 2' run. It does make sense that if over tightening caused a short, simply loostening it wouldn't repair any damage that was done.

Then again, maybe it has something to do with resistance and how the GFI breakers work? Maybe it isnt damaged but was just squeezed out of its shape enough that it affected the GFI? Hmm....doubtful. I should probably replace it.

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Old 04-30-2013, 12:58 AM   #7
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It just seems like a clamp being too tight isn't the source of the issue. If you can swap the wiring out that easily I would. JMO.

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Old 04-30-2013, 01:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kopper View Post
It just seems like a clamp being too tight isn't the source of the issue. If you can swap the wiring out that easily I would. JMO.
Agreed.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:28 AM   #9
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Let's say you over tightened the connector (damaging the insulation or the insulation got nicked somehow.) for the 10ga. wire initially, just enough to allow some leakage from one of the hot conductors. It wouldn't hurt to replace the cable, especially since you said you've got about 27' left over. As a personnal preference, leave a little more slack in that wire too. Good luck and make sure you kill power to your "sub panel" before you work on it. Better safe than sorry. I overtightened one while the circuit was live and got a nice light show!

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Old 04-30-2013, 01:37 AM   #10
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That clamp is called a romex clamp, and your problem is not fixed by loosening the clamp. When that clamp was originally over-tightened the sharp metal edges on it cut through the insulation and grounded-out either your hot or your neutral. When your electrician loosened the clamp he broke that short to ground, but the problem still exists and is a serious safety issue. I can't believe your electrician didn't mention this to you because this is a pretty easy issue to troubleshoot. Replace that run of wire, don't over-tighten the clamp, and you're good.

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